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Lake Charles Optimist Club Speech

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(photo above, Lake Charles Councilman Stewart Weatherford, club Prez Hardy Parkinson and Jim)

Jim Brown: Insurance Louisiana’s No. 1 problem

BY MIKE JONES AMERICAN PRESS (August 9th, 2010)

The high cost of insurance is Louisiana’s No. 1 problem, Jim Brown, former state insurance commissioner and secretary of state, told the South Lake Charles Optimist Club on Monday.

    “Louisiana pays $3 billion more than the national average for insurance,” Brown told club members, who met at Seafood Palace. That $3 billion, Brown said, leaves the state and hurts the Louisiana economy by making it more costly to do business here. Insurance costs weren’t specifically mentioned as a factor in the decision to close Avondale Shipyard in the New Orleans area, but it was likely a consideration, he said. Avondale is moving resources to Mississippi because insurance costs are a lot less there “” and in other surrounding states, Brown said.

    He criticized the Legislature for not taking up any major insurance reform bills in its last regular session, saying the topic isn’t “a front burner issue.” Since he left public service, Brown said, he’s gotten into book publishing, writes a column and recently became the host of a nationally syndicated radio talk show. He said the show, which airs 9-11 a.m. Sunday, can be heard on his website, www.jimbrownla.com.

    Brown said the impression he’s gotten from callers is that there is little sympathy for the state over the Deepwater Horizon disaster because there was too much “doom and gloom” talk from Louisiana politicians.  He said Louisiana seafood is safe to eat, but that people in other parts of the country have gotten the impression that it isn’t. Brown said his daughter, Campbell Brown, who works for CNN, has told him that some restaurants in New York City advertise that they don’t serve Louisiana seafood.

    “Sometimes I think we overreact, both about the good and the bad,” he said.He said Louisiana politicians have been too critical of the Obama administration over the deepwater drilling moratorium. Brown said the state still needs the cooperation of Obama even if he isn’t popular here. Brown predicted the moratorium would be over within a few weeks.

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